Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Pear Budget (no, it's not food related) and Google Reader - great web tools!

On a slight detour from my normal food content, I've decided to embark (albeit a bit late!) on a challenge posted by a Gwen at Gwenbell, called The Best of 2009 Blog Challenge.  Unlike my Lebanese Wontons, I'm not entering this challenge to win anything, but instead to challenge myself with thinking about interesting questions and reflecting on my experiences throughout this year.  Please feel free to join in by either participating through her website or by commenting below.

December 23 Web Tool.  It came into your work flow this year and now you couldn't live without it.  It has simplified or improved your online experience.  

I have to list 2.

#1 - The Pear Budget Spreadsheet:  I must admit, this year I have felt very overwhelmed by my finances.  Since my divorce, my money situation has gone down the tubes - but hey, I'm still happier!  I did the worst thing and turned to credit cards way too much and did not focus on my true income and expenses.  Although I'm still not out of credit card debt and definitely living month to month, I couldn't be happier with my renewed focus on my finances.  I attribute a big part of that to the Pear Budget worksheet.  I had tried to do a monthly budget on my own, but with little success.  This spreadsheet guides you through the steps and populates cells on a tabbed excel spreadsheet where you enter your monthly expenses that correlate to each day in the month.  Yes, it may sound like a bit of work, but if you keep up with it daily or weekly, it is quite easy.  I'm able to see if I made money on a particular month, or overspent.  There is also a tab for the cumulative year.  It's simple, it's all I need, and did I mention it was free?  I'm excited about the prospect of better managing my money.  I found this spreadsheet through The Simple Dollar blog

#2 - Google Reader.  Since I have just recently started reading blogs, I hadn't known about Google Reader until this year.  Instead, I was signed up for email alerts when the blogs I subscribed to posted new content.  That can be fine, but when you sign up for several, you could be looking at a mass amount of emails per day!  So, I looked into RSS feeds and since I have a gmail account, the google reader was the obvious choice.  I still need to trim down on the amount of blogs I subscribe too (next project), but I've successfully decreased the amount of emails to my inbox!

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